Tips for Searching Public Records

A search of public records can reveal a wealth of facts and information that may be relevant to relationships or matters that you are involved in. However, a comprehensive search of such records can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. Read on for some useful tips on how to conduct an efficient and comprehensive search of public records:

  • For personal information, think locally. The best place to start a search for information is in the locale where the subject event took place. For personal information such as birth, death or marital events, start by searching the county or state records where the event most likely took place. If you don't know the county where the event took place, move up to the state level for clues.
  • For business or corporate information, you will want to start with a search for records at the state level where the business was incorporated.
  • Consider the time frame you are researching. Documents related to more recent events are more likely to be accessible directly through county clerks and governments. For older records, you may have to search for alternative archival sources, i.e. historical societies that may maintain such records. In most cases, the county clerk will be able to direct you to such entities, but you may also be able to find this information online as well.
  • Contact relevant government organizations directly. Most provide contact information including e-mail address, so use it to ask specific questions or for specific advice from the source directly.
  • Get advice from others. Particularly if you are looking for some specific, niche-type of information, post a comment on PublicRecords360 in the relevant section to see if there are other people who have experience in the area, or are searching for the same information.